Monday, 7 September 2009
Britain's West Midlands is a 'county' for Old Men
The Department For Work and Pensions ( I suspect, a little work and a lot of pensions),tell us that ‘People are living longer. By 2020 half the population of the U.K. will be aged 50 and over’.
Under the ‘Full of Life ‘ banner, the Government and other supporting groups, are undertaking a wide programme of activity centred around 'UK Older People’s Day' , to raise the profile of the issues surrounding older people and our ageing society.’
Following the apparent success of last year’s celebrations, 2009’s Older People’s Day will take place on 1st October. 'The day will highlight the contribution older people make to our society and economy and will try to tackle any negative attitudes and stereotypes by bringing different generations together to promote a more positive view of later life'.
THIS ALL SOUNDS VERY LAUDABLE TO ME.
Apparently, in 2008 'from allotment projects to tea dances, exercise classes to achievement awards, around 50,000 people took part in some 900 local events across the country' and the organisers are hoping even more people will get involved in 2009.
I went to the 'Directgov' website to find out more :
Encouraged by the invitation to 'Find an event near you', I clicked on the 'South East' region of the map and found that 14 events were planned. Interestingly, closer inspection revealed that most of them were by the sea.
I wonder if that's because seaside towns on the Kent and Sussex coasts are seen as safe havens for retired old people ? Anyway, this was what was on offer :
By the sea
Peacehaven : An Information Fair
Worthing : Mexican dominoes, line dancing, Tai Chi, a history walk and photo exhibition entitled : 'What it means to be an older person in Worthing'.
Eastbourne : A Poetry Reading
Seaford : An Information 'Fayre'
Lewes : 'Life on the Home Front (1939 - 45)
Newhaven : An Intergenerational Dance involving a 1940's style dance with the old joining local school children to revive the tea dances of the War years
Bexhill : A walk and a quiz
Hastings : An advice stand in the local shopping area
Gravesend : Tai Chi, massages and fitness tests
Horsham : An exhibition and information about clubs
Uckfield : An event involving local 6th form students
Well, I've got the car, but quiet frankly, nothing on offer really grabbed my attention, so I went back to the map and took myself to the following regions to see what was going on there. This is what I found :
Northern Ireland : Nothing
The North East : Nothing
Scotland : 2 events
The North West : 2 events
The South West : 2 events
The East : 3 events
London : 3 events
THEN, THE REALLY BIG SURPRISE -The West Midlands : 53 events
So, the only conclusion I can draw is, that if you are thinking of retiring and moving to the coast, forget it. Get yourself to the land-locked West Midlands, where Birmingham alone is organising 11 events for your benefit.